Interviewing Apprentices: Dos and Don’ts

For a young person with little to no work experience, a job interview can be a very daunting and nerve-racking prospect. Here are some interviewing dos and don’ts to think about which will make the whole process less of an ordeal for them, and will enable you to see the real person underneath the nerves as well as enabling you to hire the best apprentice for the job.



  • Ask questions such as “What are you hoping to achieve in the next five years?”


Questions regarding the young person’s future plans will give them opportunity to reveal to you what they envision themselves doing in the future. It also gives you an insight into their career aspirations which is useful when deciding if they are right for the position. Even if the candidate is unsure of what they are planning for the future, this will tap into the candidate’s personality more than a simple ‘why do you want to work for us?’ This will make them feel more at ease.


  • Tell them they have no reason to be nervous / it’s okay to be nervous.



Obviously a job interview can be a nerve-racking experience for everyone, but for a young person/apprentice it can be even worse. Addressing their nerves in a positive way will make them feel more relaxed. This also means that you will get a truer representation of their personality as they will be more focused on answering your questions than their nervousness.


  • Ask them what their greatest achievement is so far, outside of school / college.


The interviewee might be nervous but an interview is an interview and you still need to be asking questions that will encourage the candidate to think ‘outside the box’. Asking them what their greatest achievement is outside of school will stop you from hearing a generic, grade-based answer that they think you want to hear and will encourage them to think about their answer.




  • Ask overly complicated questions.



Your interview questions should be clear and something that allows the candidate to really shine with their answers. Remember the young person that you are interviewing probably has little to no interview experience so over complicating the questions will make them lose faith in their own ability throughout the interview. Clear and relevant questions will make the candidate feel much more at ease and confident as to why you chose to interview them in the first place.


  • Jump straight into the interview questions



To ease nerves, it would be beneficial for both parties if you discuss the outline of the interview first. If it is just going to be a general chat, say so. If you are going to bring a colleague in for part of the interview, say so. Knowing what is going to happen during the interview, and that there won’t be any surprise presentations sprung on them at the last minute, will do wonders in calming the nerves of your interviewee. Offering them a tea/coffee when they arrive won’t hurt either!


  • Use closed questions



A nervous candidate who does not have any interview experience might not have a the confidence to really embellish on points that they don’t have to, so if you ask closed questions there is a chance you might only receive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as a response. Asking open questions will allow the candidate to give you a detailed answer.


If you have any further questions about hiring an apprentice, please visit our FAQ page or give us a call on 0161 200 1673.


Written by: Rebecca, Marketing Intern